Global decreases in DNA methylation, particularly in repetitive elements, have been associated with genomic instability and human cancer. Emerging, though limited, data suggest that in white blood cell (WBC) DNA levels of methylation, overall or in repetitive elements, may be associated with cancer risk. We measured methylation levels of three repetitive elements [Satellite 2 (Sat2)], long interspersed nuclear element-1 (LINE-1) and Alu) by MethyLight, and LINE-1 by pyrosequencing in a total of 282 breast cancer cases and 347 unaffected sisters from the New York site of the Breast Cancer Family Registry (BCFR) using DNA from both granulocytes and total WBC. We found that methylation levels in all markers were correlated between sisters (Spearman correlation coefficients ranged from 0.17 to 0.55). Sat2 methylation was statistically significantly associated with increased breast cancer risk [odds ratio (OR) = 2.09, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.09–4.03; for each unit decrease in the natural log of the methylation level, OR = 2.12, 95% CI = 0.88–5.11 for the lowest quartile compared with the highest quartile]. These associations were only observed in total WBC but not granulocyte DNA. There was no association between breast cancer and LINE-1 and Alu methylation. If replicated in larger prospective studies, these findings support that selected markers of epigenetic changes measured in WBC, such as Sat2, may be potential biomarkers of breast cancer risk.
Levels of kynurenic acid (KYNA), an endogenous product of tryptophan degradation, are elevated in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid of individuals with schizophrenia (SZ). This increase has been implicated in the cognitive dysfunctions seen in the disease since KYNA is an antagonist of the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and the NMDA receptor, both of which are critically involved in cognitive processes and in a defining neurodevelopmental period in the pathophysiology of SZ. We tested the hypothesis that early developmental increases in brain KYNA synthesis might cause biochemical and functional impairments in adulthood. To this end, we stimulated KYNA formation by adding the KYNA precursor kynurenine (100 mg/day) to the chow fed to rat dams from gestational day 15 to postnatal day 21 (PD 21). This treatment raised brain KYNA levels in the offspring by 341% on PD 2 and 210% on PD 21. Rats were then fed normal chow until adulthood (PD 56-PD 80). In the adult animals, basal levels of extracellular KYNA, measured in the hippocampus by in vivo microdialysis, were elevated (+12%), whereas extracellular glutamate levels were significantly reduced (−13%). In separate adult animals, early kynurenine treatment was shown to impair performance in two behavioral tasks linked to hippocampal function, the passive avoidance test and the Morris water maze test. Collectively, these studies introduce a novel, naturalistic rat model of SZ and also suggest that increases in brain KYNA during a vulnerable period in brain development may play a significant role in the pathophysiology of the disease.
Rats; Cognition; Hippocampus; Kynurenic acid; Schizophrenia
Burnout has been a major concern in the field of occupational health. However, there is a paucity of research exploring the factors related to burnout among Chinese doctors. Investigation of these factors is important to improve the health of doctors and the quality of healthcare services in China.
The study population consisted of 1,618 registered hospital doctors from Liaoning province of China. Burnout was measured using the Chinese version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey. Occupational stress was measured using the Chinese versions of the Job Content Questionnaire and the Effort-Reward Imbalance Questionnaire. Data were collected on the respondents’ demographic characteristics and work situations. Of the doctors solicited for enrollment, 1,202 returned the completed questionnaire (555 men, 647 women), giving a response rate of 74.3%. A general linear regression model was applied to analyze the factors associated with burnout.
The burnout mean scores were 11.46 (7.51) for emotional exhaustion, 6.93 (5.15) for cynicism, and 24.07 (9.50) for professional efficacy. In descending order of standardized estimates, variables that predicted a high level of emotional exhaustion included: high extrinsic effort, dissatisfaction with doctor-patient relationship, high overcommitment, working >40 h per week, low reward, and high psychological job demands. Variables that predicted a high level of cynicism included: high extrinsic effort, low reward, dissatisfaction with doctor-patient relationship, high overcommitment, low decision authority, low supervisor support, and low skill discretion. Variables that predicted a low perceived professional efficacy included: high psychological job demands, low coworker support, high extrinsic effort, low decision authority, low reward, and dissatisfaction with doctor-patient relationship.
These findings suggest that occupational stress is strongly related to burnout among hospital doctors in China. Strategies that aim to improve work situations and decrease occupational stress are necessary to reduce burnout, including health education, health promotion, and occupational training programs.
Burnout; Doctors; Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey; Occupational stress
The HIV-1 accessory factor Vif is necessary for efficient viral infection in non-permissive cells. Vif antagonizes the antiviral activity of human cytidine deaminase APOBEC3 proteins that confer the non-permissive phenotype by tethering them (APOBEC3DE/3F/3G) to the Vif-CBF-β-ElonginB-ElonginC-Cullin5-Rbx (Vif-CBF-β-EloB-EloC-Cul5-Rbx) E3 complex to induce their proteasomal degradation. EloB and EloC were initially reported as positive regulatory subunits of the Elongin (SIII) complex. Thereafter, EloB and EloC were found to be components of Cul-E3 complexes, contributing to proteasomal degradation of specific substrates. CBF-β is a newly identified key regulator of Vif function, and more information is needed to further clarify its regulatory mechanism. Here, we comprehensively investigated the functions of EloB (together with EloC) in the Vif-CBF-β-Cul5 E3 ligase complex.
The results revealed that: (1) EloB (and EloC) positively affected the recruitment of CBF-β to Vif. Both knockdown of endogenous EloB and over-expression of its mutant with a 34-residue deletion in the COOH-terminal tail (EloBΔC34/EBΔC34) impaired the Vif-CBF-β interaction. (2) Introduction of both the Vif SLQ → AAA mutant (VifΔSLQ, which dramatically impairs Vif-EloB-EloC binding) and the Vif PPL → AAA mutant (VifΔPPL, which is thought to reduce Vif-EloB binding) could reduce CBF-β binding. (3) EloB-EloC but not CBF-β could greatly enhance the folding of full-length Vif in Escherichia coli. (4) The over-expression of EloB or the N-terminal ubiquitin-like (UbL) domain of EloB could significantly improve the stability of Vif/VifΔSLQ/VifΔPPL through the region between residues 9 and 14.
Our results indicate that the Vif interaction with EloB-EloC may contribute to recruitment of CBF-β to Vif, demonstrating that the EloB C-teminus may play a role in improving Vif function and that the over-expression of EloB results in Vif stabilization.
CBF-β; Elongin BC complex; HIV-1; Protein binding; Ubiquitin-protein ligases; Vif
A lot of empirical studies have been conducted to evaluate the prevalence of depression and anxiety among Chinese adults with cancer. We aimed to conduct a meta-analysis in order to evaluate the prevalence and odds ratios of depression and anxiety in Chinese adults with cancer compared with those without.
The three most comprehensive computerized Chinese academic databases-CNKI, Wangfang and Vip databases-were systematically screened through September 2012. PubMed and Web of Science (SCIE) were also searched from their inception until September 2012 without language restrictions, and an internet search was also used. Case–control studies assessing the prevalence of depression and anxiety among Chinese adults with cancer were analyzed. Study selection and appraisal were conducted independently by three authors. The non-weighted prevalence, pooled random-effects estimates of odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were all calculated.
Seventeen eligible studies with a total of 3497 subjects were included. The prevalence of depression and anxiety were significantly higher in adults with cancer compared with those without (Depression: 54.90% vs. 17.50%, OR = 7.85, 95% CI = 5.56-11.07, P = 0.000; Anxiety: 49.69% vs. 18.37%, OR = 6.46, 95% CI = 4.36-9.55, P = 0.000), the same situation was also observed in subgroup of control groups, assessment methods and cancer types. Although no difference of depression was observed in studies utilizing clinical diagnosis compared with self-report, the OR of anxiety in adults with cancer compared with those without was higher in studies utilizing clinical diagnosis (OR = 8.42, 95% CI = 4.83-14.70) than self-reports (OR = 5.83, 95% CI = 3.64-9.34). The ORs of depression and anxiety in cancer patients compared with disease group (Depression: OR = 6.03, 95% CI = 4.23-8.61; Anxiety: OR = 4.40, 95% CI = 3.05-6.36) were lower than in those compared with normal group (Depression: OR = 13.58, 95% CI = 6.26-29.46; Anxiety: OR = 15.47, 95% CI = 10.00-23.95).
We identified high prevalence rates of depression and anxiety among Chinese adults with cancer. The findings support that the prevalence of depression and anxiety among adults with cancer should receive more attention in Chinese medical settings.
Lower global DNA methylation is associated with genomic instability and it is one of the epigenetic mechanisms relevant to carcinogenesis. Emerging evidence for several cancers suggests that lower overall levels of global DNA methylation in blood are associated with different cancer types, although less is known about breast cancer. We examined global DNA methylation levels using a sibling design in 273 sisters affected with breast cancer and 335 unaffected sisters from the New York site of the Breast Cancer Family Registry. We measured global DNA methylation in total white blood cell (WBC) and granulocyte DNA by two different methods, the [3H]-methyl acceptance assay and the luminometric methylation assay (LUMA). Global methylation levels were only modestly correlated between sisters discordant for breast cancer (Spearman correlation coefficients ranged from -0.08 to 0.24 depending on assay and DNA source). Using conditional logistic regression models, women in the quartile with the lowest DNA methylation levels (as measured by the [3H]-methyl acceptance assay) had a 1.8-fold (95% CI = 1.0–3.3) higher relative association with breast cancer than women in the quartile with the highest DNA methylation levels. When we examined the association on a continuous scale, we also observed a positive association (odds ratio, OR = 1.3, 95% CI = 1.0–1.7, for a one unit change in the natural logarithm of the DPM/μg of DNA). We observed no association between measures by the LUMA assay and breast cancer risk. If replicated in prospective studies, this study suggests that global DNA methylation levels measured in WBC may be a potential biomarker of breast cancer risk even within families at higher risk of cancer.
blood; breast cancer; epigenetics; global DNA methylation; global methylation; LUMA; luminometric methylation assay; methyl acceptance assay; white blood cell; [3H]-methyl acceptance assay
Global DNA hypomethylation is associated with genomic instability and human cancer and blood DNAs collected at the time of cancer diagnosis have been used to examine the relationship between global methylation and cancer risk. To test the hypothesis that global hypomethylation is associated with increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), we conducted a prospective case–control study nested within a community-based cohort with 16 years of follow-up. We measured methylation levels in Satellite 2 (Sat2) by MethyLight and LINE-1 by pyrosequencing using baseline white blood cell DNA from 305 HCC cases and 1254 matched controls. We found that Sat2 hypomethylation was associated with HCC risk [odds ratio (OR) per unit decrease in natural log Sat2 methylation = 1.77, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.06–2.95]. The association was significant among individuals diagnosed with HCC before age 62 (OR per unit decrease in natural log Sat2 methylation = 2.47, 95% CI = 1.06–5.73) but not after (OR = 1.67, 95% CI = 0.84–3.32). We did not observe an association of LINE-1 with HCC overall risk by age at diagnosis. Among carriers of hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg), with each 1U decrease in natural log Sat2 methylation level, the OR for HCC increased by 2.19 (95% CI = 1.00–4.89). LINE-1 hypomethylation was associated with about a 2-fold increased risk of HCC, with ORs (95% CI) of 2.39 (1.06–5.39), 2.09 (0.91–4.77) and 2.28 (0.95–5.51, P
trend = 0.14) for HBsAg carriers in the third, second and lowest quartile of LINE-1 methylation, respectively compared with carriers in the fourth. These results suggest that global hypomethylation may be a useful biomarker of HCC susceptibility.
The essential amino acid tryptophan is not only a precursor of serotonin but is also degraded to several other neuroactive compounds, including kynurenic acid, 3-hydroxykynurenine and quinolinic acid. The synthesis of these metabolites is regulated by an enzymatic cascade, known as the kynurenine pathway, that is tightly controlled by the immune system. Dysregulations of the pathway, causing hyper- or hypofunction of active metabolites, are associated with neurodegenerative and other neurological disorders, as well as psychiatric diseases such as depression and schizophrenia. With recently developed pharmacological agents, it is now possible to restore metabolic equilibrium and envisage novel therapeutic interventions.
In a previous study, we showed that the cephalochordate amphioxus Branchiostoma floridae has localized maternal transcripts of conserved germ cell markers Vasa and Nanos in its early embryos. These results provided strong evidence to support a preformation mechanism for primordial germ cell (PGC) development in B. floridae.
In this study, we further characterize the expression of B. floridae homologs of Piwi and Tudor, which play important roles in germline development in diverse metazoan animals. We show that maternal mRNA of one of the identified Piwi-like homologs, Bf-Piwil1, also colocalizes with Vasa in the vegetal germ plasm and has zygotic expression in both the putative PGCs and the tail bud, suggesting it may function in both germline and somatic stem cells. More interestingly, one Tudor family gene, Bf-Tdrd7, is only expressed maternally and colocalizes with Vasa in germ plasm, suggesting that it may function exclusively in germ cell specification. To evaluate the conservation of the preformation mechanism among amphioxus species, we further analyze Vasa, Nanos, Piwil1, and Tdrd7 expression in two Asian amphioxus species, B. belcheri and B. japonicum. Their maternal transcripts all localize in similar patterns to those seen in B. floridae. In addition, we labeled putative PGCs with Vasa antibody to trace their dynamic distribution in developing larvae.
We identify additional germ plasm components in amphioxus and demonstrate the molecular distinction between the putative germline stem cells and somatic stem cells. Moreover, our results suggest that preformation may be a conserved mechanism for PGC specification among Branchiostoma species. Our Vasa antibody staining results suggest that after the late neurula stage, amphioxus PGCs probably proliferate with the tail bud cells during posterior elongation and are deposited near the forming myomere boundaries. Subsequently, these PGCs would concentrate at the ventral tip of the myoseptal walls to form the gonad anlagen.
Cephalochordate; Nanos; Piwi; Primordial germ cell; Tudor; Vasa
Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a severe type of chronic liver disease. The lack of appropriate animal models has resulted in a limited understanding regarding the etiology of AIH. Here, we demonstrated that mice deficient in Tyro3, Axl and Mer (TAM) receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) developed persistent inflammatory liver damage resembling AIH. Tyro3−/−Axl−/−Mer−/− triple mutant (TAM−/−) mice exhibited chronic hepatitis, manifested by progressive appearance of interface hepatitis, immune cell infiltrations and elevated inflammatory cytokine levels in the liver. Accordingly, increased levels of transaminases were observed. Moreover, characteristic autoantibodies and high levels of plasma immunoglobulin G for AIH were detected as TAM−/− mice aged. Finally, we provided evidence that the liver damage in TAM−/− mice mainly result from bone marrow-derived cells and could be rescued by transplantation of WT bone marrow cells. Results suggest that TAM RTKs play an important role in maintaining immune tolerance of the liver.
Alterations in DNA methylation frequently occur in hepatocellular cancer (HCC). We have previously demonstrated that hypermethylation in candidate genes can be detected in plasma DNA prior to HCC diagnosis. To identify with a genome-wide approach additional genes hypermethylated in HCC that could be used for more accurate analysis of plasma DNA for early diagnosis, we analyzed tumor and adjacent non-tumor tissues from 62 Taiwanese HCC cases using Illumina methylation arrays that screen 26,486 autosomal CpG sites. After Bonferroni adjustment, a total of 2,324 CpG sites significantly differed in methylation level, with 684 CpG sites significantly hypermethylated and 1,640 hypomethylated in tumor compared to non-tumor tissues. Array data were validated with pyrosequencing in a subset of 5 of these genes; correlation coefficients ranged from 0.92 to 0.97. Analysis of plasma DNA from 38 cases demonstrated that 37% to 63% of cases had detectable hypermethylated DNA (≥5% methylation) for these 5 genes individually. At least one of these genes was hypermethylated in 87% of cases, suggesting that measurement of DNA methylation in plasma samples is feasible. The panel of methylated genes indentified in the current study will be further tested in large cohort of prospectively collected samples to determine their utility as early biomarkers of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Genome-wide; DNA mehtylation; Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Cognitive deficits represent a core symptom cluster in schizophrenia (SZ) that is predictive of functional outcome, but not effectively treated by current antipsychotics. Thus, there is a need for the development of validated animal models for testing potential cognition-enhancing drugs.
As kynurenic acid (KYNA) levels are increased in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of individuals with SZ, we acutely increased brain levels of this astrocyte-derived, negative modulator of the alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR) by administration of its bioprecursor kynurenine (KYN) and measured the effects on KYNA and glutamate levels in PFC as well as performance in a set-shifting task.
Injections of KYN (100 mg/kg, i.p.) increased extracellular KYNA levels (1500% of baseline) and decreased glutamate levels (70% of baseline) in PFC. KYN also produced marked deficits in set-shifting. Saline- and KYN-treated rats similarly acquired the compound discrimination and the intra-dimensional shift (mean trials to criterion, saline: 7.0 and 6.3, respectively; KYN: 8.0 and 6.7). Both groups required more trials to acquire the initial reversal (saline: 15.3; KYN: 22.2). However, KYN-treated rats exhibited severe deficits in acquiring the extra-dimensional shift (saline: 8.2; KYN = 21.3). These deficits were normalized by an acute injection of the α7nAChR positive allosteric modulator galantamine (3.0 mg/kg, i.p) 5 min prior to KYN (100 mg/kg, i.p.). Thus, trials to criterion were comparable between galantamine + KYN (7.8) and controls (8.2). Finally, the KYN-induced impairment requires antagonism of prefrontal α7nAChRs, as bilateral local perfusion of galantamine (5.0 μM) attenuated the effects of systemic KYN.
These results validate the use of animals with elevated brain KYNA levels in SZ research and support continued studies on drugs that normalize brain KYNA levels and/or positively modulate α7nAChRs as pro-cognitve adjuncts for treating SZ.
cognition; schizophrenia; animal model; kynurenine; glutamate
Lactobacillus pobuzihii E100301T is a novel Lactobacillus species previously isolated from pobuzihi (fermented cummingcordia) in Taiwan. Phylogenetically, this strain is closest to Lactobacillus acidipiscis, but its phenotypic characteristics can be clearly distinguished from those of L. acidipiscis. We present the draft genome sequence of strain L. pobuzihii E100301T.
A preliminary study was conducted to investigate feasibility of using an oral cancer chemopreventive agent (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the most biologically active component in the green tea extract, in a form of ‘swish-and-spit’ mouthwash. Such application of EGCG is beneficial as it maximizes exposure of the oral mucosa to the agent but minimizes systemic side effect.
The study was conducted on individuals suspected to have oral field cancerization who are at a high risk for developing recurrent oral precancerous and carcinomatous lesions. EGCG was used as a daily mouthwash for 7 days. EGCG’s ability to modulate target molecules implicated in oral carcinogenesis was assessed by measuring the change in expression level of biomarkers.
Immunohistochemical expression of phosphoactivated epidermal growth factor receptor (pEGFR), cyclooxygenase-2 (cox-2) and ki-67 were evaluated at baseline and at the endpoint (day 8). Although not statistically significant, overall decrease in expression levels of pEGFR (27.5%), cox-2 (15.9%) and ki-67 positive cells (51.8%) were observed following EGCG treatment. Moreover, a detectable level of EGCG was found in saliva but not in plasma after the one-week treatment regime, demonstrating local availability of EGCG in oral mucosa without significant systemic absorption.
To best of our knowledge this is the first study to explore use of oral cancer chemopreventive agent in a form of mouthwash in patients with oral field cancerization. Although a definitive conclusion was not reached due to limited sample size, if proven effective, EGCG therapy may offer a non-invasive preventive modality for oral field cancerization.
(−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate; oral field cancerization; topical chemopreventive agent; feasibility trial
Multicopper oxidases (MCOs) are a family of enzymes that use copper ions as cofactors to oxidize various substrates. Previous research has demonstrated that several MCOs such as MnxG, MofA and MoxA can act as putative Mn(II) oxidases. Meanwhile, the endospore coat protein CotA from Bacillus species has been confirmed as a typical MCO. To study the relationship between CotA and the Mn(II) oxidation, the cotA gene from a highly active Mn(II)-oxidizing strain Bacillus pumilus WH4 was cloned and overexpressed in Escherichia coli strain M15. The purified CotA contained approximately four copper atoms per molecule and showed spectroscopic properties typical of blue copper oxidases. Importantly, apart from the laccase activities, the CotA also displayed substantial Mn(II)-oxidase activities both in liquid culture system and native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The optimum Mn(II) oxidase activity was obtained at 53°C in HEPES buffer (pH 8.0) supplemented with 0.8 mM CuCl2. Besides, the addition of o-phenanthroline and EDTA both led to a complete suppression of Mn(II)-oxidizing activity. The specific activity of purified CotA towards Mn(II) was 0.27 U/mg. The Km, Vmax and kcat values towards Mn(II) were 14.85±1.17 mM, 3.01×10−6±0.21 M·min−1 and 0.32±0.02 s−1, respectively. Moreover, the Mn(II)-oxidizing activity of the recombinant E. coli strain M15-pQE-cotA was significantly increased when cultured both in Mn-containing K liquid medium and on agar plates. After 7-day liquid cultivation, M15-pQE-cotA resulted in 18.2% removal of Mn(II) from the medium. Furthermore, the biogenic Mn oxides were clearly observed on the cell surfaces of M15-pQE-cotA by scanning electron microscopy. To our knowledge, this is the first report that provides the direct observation of Mn(II) oxidation with the heterologously expressed protein CotA, Therefore, this novel finding not only establishes the foundation for in-depth study of Mn(II) oxidation mechanisms, but also offers a potential biocatalyst for Mn(II) removal.
The natural flavone acacetin has been demonstrated to inhibit transient outward potassium current (Ito) in human atrial myocytes. However, the molecular determinants of acacetin for blocking Ito are unknown. The present study was designed to investigate the properties and molecular determinants of this compound for blocking hKv4.3 channels (coding Ito) stably expressed in HEK 293 cells using the approaches of whole-cell patch voltage-clamp technique and mutagenesis. It was found that acacetin inhibited hKv4.3 current by binding to both the closed and open channels, and decreased the recovery from inactivation. The blockade of hKv4.3 channels by acacetin was use- and frequency-dependent, and IC50s of acacetin for inhibiting hKv4.3 were 7.9, 6.1, 3.9, and 3.2 µM, respectively, at 0.2, 0.5, 1, and 3.3 Hz. The mutagenesis study revealed that the hKv4.3 mutants T366A and T367A in the P-loop helix, and V392A, I395A and V399A in the S6-segment had a reduced channel blocking efficacy of acacetin (IC50, 44.5 µM for T366A, 25.8 µM for T367A, 17.6 µM for V392A, 16.2 µM for I395A, and 19.1 µM for V399A). These results demonstrate the novel information that acacetin may inhibit the closed channels and block the open state of the channels by binding to their P-loop filter helix and S6 domain. The use- and rate-dependent blocking of hKv4.3 by acacetin is likely beneficial for managing atrial fibrillation.
We have recently shown that hepatitis B virus (HBV) core antigen (HBcAg) is the major viral factor for HBV clearance using a hydrodynamics-based mouse model. Knockout of HBcAg hampers the development of antiviral immune responses and thus promotes HBV persistence. Here, we further demonstrated that only in the capsid form, but not the free or dimer form, can HBcAg exert its contributory role in HBV clearance. HBcAg is the main structural protein of HBV icosahedral nucleocapsid. A mutant HBV DNA which expresses an assembly-defective HBcAg, HBcAgY132A, surprisingly prolonged HBV surface antigenemia in both C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice without affecting viral transcription and translation. This result was not due to a loss of the possible immune epitope caused by the single-amino-acid substitution of HBcAg. Moreover, the particular HBV mutant failed to induce robust humoral and cellular immunity against HBV. These data revealed the requirement of capsid structure for inducing adequate immunity that leads to HBV clearance in mice.
The Ca2+/calmodulin (CaM) signaling pathway mediates the heat stress (HS) response and acquisition of thermotolerance in plants. We showed that the rice CaM1-1 isoform can interpret a Ca2+ signature difference in amplitude, frequency, and temporal–spatial properties in regulating transcription of nucleoplasmic small heat-shock protein gene (sHSPC/N) during HS. Ca2+ and A23187 treatments under HS generated an intense and sustained increase in [Ca2+]cyt and accelerated the expression of CaM1-1 and sHSPC/N genes, which suggests that HS-induced apoplastic Ca2+ influx was responsible for the [Ca2+]cyt transient and downstream HS signaling. Here, we discuss an emerging paradigm in the oscillation regulation of CaM1-1 expression during HS and highlight the areas that need further investigation.
Ca2+; calmodulin; heat shock signaling; temporal–spatial regulation; thermotolerance
γ-H2AX (activated histone 2AX) and pChk2 (activated checkpoint kinase 2), which are DNA damage response molecules, are produced in irradiated cells and may be signature molecules of radiation exposure. We investigated their use as potential biomarkers to identify individuals exposed to ionizing radiation. We collected exfoliated oral epithelial cell samples from 100 healthy individuals undergoing routine dental radiographic examination (2.34 cGy) both before and after the radiograph using a non-invasive technique. The expression levels of pChk2 and γ-H2AX in oral cells were assessed by immunohistochemical assay. Both biomarkers showed statistically significant increases in levels of expression after the radiation exposure (P < 0.001). This suggests that pChk2 and γ-H2AX may serve as sensitive indicators of low-dose radiation exposure.
Since the KCNB1 encoding Kv2.1 channel accounts for the majority of Kv currents modulating insulin secretion by pancreatic islet beta-cells, we postulated that KCNB1 is a plausible candidate gene for genetic variation contributing to the variable compensatory secretory function of beta-cells in type-2 diabetes (T2D). We conducted two studies, a case-control study and a cross-section study, to investigate the association of common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in KCNB1 with T2D and its linking traits. In the case-control study, we first examined the association of 20 tag SNPs of KCNB1 with T2D in a population with 226 T2D patients and non-diabetic subjects (screening study). We then identified the association in an enlarged population of 412 T2D patients and non-diabetic subjects (replication study). In the cross-sectional study, we investigated the linkage between the candidate SNP rs1051295 and T2D by comparing beta-cell function and insulin sensitivity among rs1051295 genotypes in a general population of 1051 subjects at fasting and after glucose loading (oral glucose tolerance tests, OGTT) in 84 fasting glucose impaired subjects, and several T2D-related traits. We found that among the 19 available tag SNPs, only the KCNB1 rs1051295 was associated with T2D (P = 0.027), with the rs1051295 TT genotype associated with an increased risk of T2D compared with genotypes CC (P = 0.009). At fasting, rs1051295 genotype TT was associated with a 9.8% reduction in insulin sensitivity compared to CC (P = 0.008); along with increased plasma triglycerides (TG) levels (TT/CC: P = 0.046) and increased waist/hip (W/H) ratio (TT/CC: P = 0.013; TT/TC: P = 0.002). OGTT confirmed that genotype TT exhibited reduced insulin sensitivity by 16.3% (P = 0.030) compared with genotype TC+CC in a fasting glucose impaired population. The KCNB1 rs1051295 genotype TT in the Chinese Han population is associated with decreased insulin sensitivity and increased plasma TG and W/H ratio, which together contribute to an increased risk for T2D.
We describe here a GC/MS/MS method for the sensitive and concurrent determination of extracellular tryptophan and the kynurenine pathway metabolites kynurenine, 3-hydroxykynurenine (3-HK) and quinolinic acid (QUIN) in rat brain. This metabolic cascade is increasingly linked to the pathophysiology of several neurological and psychiatric diseases. Methodological refinements, including optimization of MS conditions and addition of deuterated standards, resulted in assay linearity to the low nanomolar range. Measured in samples obtained by striatal microdialysis in vivo, basal levels of tryptophan, kynurenine and QUIN were 415, 89 and 8 nM, respectively, but 3-HK levels were below the limit of detection (<2 nM). Systemic injection of kynurenine (100 mg/kg, i.p.) did not affect extracellular tryptophan but produced detectable levels of extracellular 3-HK (peak after 2-3 h: ~50 nM) and raised extracellular QUIN levels (peak after 2 h: ~105 nM). The effect of this treatment on QUIN, but not on 3-HK, was potentiated in the NMDA-lesioned striatum. Our results indicate that the novel methodology, which allowed the measurement of extracellular kynurenine and 3-HK in the brain in vivo, will facilitate studies of brain kynurenines and of the interplay between peripheral and central kynurenine pathway function under physiological and pathological conditions.
3-Hydroxykynurenine; Microdialysis; Quinolinic acid; Selective reaction monitoring; Tandem mass spectrometry; Tryptophan
For the first time, we have investigated the bacterial toxicity or compatibility properties of Pt nanoparticles (NPs) with different sizes (P1, P2, P3, P4 and P5). The bacterio-toxic or compatible properties of these five different sized Pt NPs with the clinical pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa were explored by many analytical methods such as the conventional plate count method, matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS), fluorescence microscopy and fluorescence sensoring techniques. The results revealed that the 1–3 nm sized (P1 and P2) Pt NPs showed bacterio-toxic properties while the 4–21 nm (P3, P4 and P5) Pt NPs exhibited bacterio-compatible properties. This is the first study which reports the bacterial toxicity of Pt NPs. The information released from this study is significantly important to future clinical, medical, biological and biomedical applications of Pt NPs.
Intrinsic polarization of ferroelectrics (FE) helps separate photon-generated charge carriers thus enhances photovoltaic effects. However, traditional FE with transition-metal cations (M) of d0 electron in MO6 network typically has a band gap (Eg) exceeding 3.0 eV. Although a smaller Eg (2.6 eV) can be obtained in multiferroic BiFeO3, the value is still too high for optimal solar energy applications. Computational “materials genome” searches have predicted several exotic MO6 FE with Eg < 2.0 eV, all thus far unconfirmed because of synthesis difficulties. Here we report a new FE compound with MO4 tetrahedral network, KBiFe2O5, which features narrow Eg (1.6 eV), high Curie temperature (Tc ~ 780 K) and robust magnetic and photoelectric activities. The high photovoltage (8.8 V) and photocurrent density (15 μA/cm2) were obtained, which is comparable to the reported BiFeO3. This finding may open a new avenue to discovering and designing optimal FE compounds for solar energy applications.
Promoter hypermethylation and global hypomethylation in the human genome are hallmarks of most cancers. Detection of aberrant methylation in white blood cells (WBC) has been suggested as a marker for cancer development, but has not been extensively investigated. This study was carried out to determine whether aberrant methylation in WBC DNA can be used as a surrogate biomarker for breast cancer risk.
Patients and Methods
Promoter hypermethylation of 8 tumor suppressor genes (RASSF1A, APC, HIN1, BRCA1, cyclinD1, RARβ, CDH1 and TWIST1) and DNA methylation for three repetitive elements (LINE1, Sat2M1 and AluM2) were analyzed in invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast, paired adjacent normal tissue and WBC from 40 breast cancer patients by the MethyLight assay. Methylation in WBC from 40 controls was also analyzed.
Tumor and adjacent tissues showed frequent hypermethylation for all genes tested, while WBC DNA was rarely hypermethylated. For HIN1, RASSF1A, APC and TWIST1 there was agreement between hypermethylation in tumor and adjacent tissues (P=0.04, P=0.02, P=0.005 and P<0.0001, respectively). DNA methylation for the three repetitive elements was lower in tumor compared to adjacent tissue and WBC DNA. Significant correlations in the methylation of Sat2M1 between tumor and adjacent tissues and WBC DNA were found (P<0.0001 and P=0.046, respectively). There was also a significant difference in methylation of Sat2M1 between cases and controls (P=0.01).
These results suggest that further studies of WBC methylation, including prospective studies, may provide biomarkers of breast cancer risk.
Breast cancer; promoter hypermethylation; genomic methylation; tumor suppressor genes; repetitive elements; WBC DNA